HomeNewsBriefHave the Knights Templar Diversified into Organ Trafficking?
BRIEF

Have the Knights Templar Diversified into Organ Trafficking?

KNIGHTS TEMPLAR / 18 MAR 2014 BY MICHAEL LOHMULLER EN

Following the arrest of the nephew of a Knights Templar leader suspected of organ trafficking, officials in Mexico have reported the Michoacan based criminal organization has diversified into a crime more commonly associated with small, specialized networks.

Police in the state of Michoacan have arrested Manuel Plancarte Gaspar -- the nephew of Knights Templar leader Enrique "Kike" Plancarte -- as part of an investigation into the kidnapping of children to steal their organs, reported the Associated Press.

Carlos Castellanos Becerra, Michoacan's public safety secretary, said the Knights Templar had been involved in organ trafficking for several years, and generally targeted minors, who they kidnapped and took to houses with medical equipment to remove their organs. However, he gave no further details on the cases.

Jose Manuel Mireles, a leader of the Michoacan vigilantes that are fighting the Knights, told Radio MVS area residents had become aware of the criminal group's involvement in organ trafficking after several children were rescued from a refrigerated truck. 

InSight Crime Analysis

The Knights Templar have increasingly diversified their criminal portfolio, engaging in a range of illicit activities. Authorities now say illegal mining, logging, and extortion are more important sources of income for the group than drug trafficking. Extortion alone is estimated to earn the group $800,000 to $1.4 million per week.

SEE ALSO: Knights Templar News and Profiles

If confirmed, the group's participation in harvesting and trafficking organs would be a sign this diversification has extended beyond what was previously thought. However, there is not yet enough evidence to verify the claims the Knights are involved in a trade that requires high levels of medical expertise and global contacts, which would be difficult for the Knights to obtain.

Organ trafficking is not generally linked to major organized crime groups, but is run by small specialized networks that recruit donors from poor and marginalized communities.

Costa Rica, in particular, has become a major source of organs, as evidenced by the recent testimony of a Costa Rican couple detained in Israel in 2013 who had traveled there to sell their kidneys. According to the couple's statement, they were offered $20,000 each for their left kidneys -- which can later sell for $150,000 on the black market -- during negotiations with a Costa Rican doctor, who was later arrested.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

ARMS TRAFFICKING / 18 FEB 2015

Seizures of munitions trafficked through Mexico City airport grew nearly 600 percent in two years, according to new data that…

MERIDA INITIATIVE / 11 AUG 2011

In a sign of the increasing level of security cooperation between the two countries, an elite United States military unit…

JALISCO CARTEL / 21 FEB 2017

American officials are reporting that the Jalisco Cartel - New Generation (CJNG) has expanded its trafficking operations in the United…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

Criminal Enterprise on the High Seas

12 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an extensive investigation into Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing that plagues the waters of nine Latin American countries. Among the stories were how…

THE ORGANIZATION

Oceans Pillaged in Central America and the Caribbean

5 AUG 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the first installment of a nine-part investigation uncovering the hidden depths of Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing in Latin America. The first installment covered Central America and…

THE ORGANIZATION

Venezuela’s Tren de Aragua Becomes Truly Transnational

29 JUL 2022

This week, InSight Crime published a deep dive into the total control that Venezuelan mega-gang, Tren de Aragua, has over the lives of those it smuggles between Venezuela and Chile…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkish Traffickers Delivering Latin American Cocaine to Persian Gulf

15 JUL 2022

Last week, InSight Crime published the second half of an investigation piecing together the emerging role of Turkish cocaine traffickers in supplying Russia and the Persian Gulf, which are among…

THE ORGANIZATION

Turkey as a Lynchpin in European Cocaine Pipeline

8 JUL 2022

InSight Crime is extending its investigation into the cocaine pipeline to Europe, and tracking the growing connections between Latin American drug traffickers and European criminal organizations. This led us to…